Every coach comes to a crossroad in their career, but typically the head coach of a team that was in rebuilding mode when they took the job gets a little more leeway if their defining season takes a wrong turn. This will likely be true about head coach Jerry Kill.
Kill is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Gophers and in his tenure things have turned for the good, but this is a big year for Kill and the program because winning lots of games is the expectation.
Kill posts a 17-21 Big 10 record, but the team took major strides in becoming a contender next season, winning four straight Big 10 games for the first time in many years.
Kill was granted a one-year extension a few months back, but more could have been given. He’s guaranteed a few more years at the minimum, however, since a three or five-year extension was not given, this probably means that Athletic Director Norwood Teague will probably exercise his options with Kill if this year goes haywire.
But, if the season goes well I fully expect Kill to get a huge extension.
The fourth season as head coach is a big year. Most of Kill’s original recruits are becoming seniors, and if these guys lose next season it says a lot about the recruiting and developing successes of Kill.
If Kill wins eight games next season, he’ll probably be compared to former head coach Glen Mason, who could never put this team over the top. If Kill wins 10 games, Gopher fans will rejoice and call Kill the team’s savior. I can sure promise you that as I’ve been around Gopher fans my entire life.
Eight wins per-season will not cut it, but I still possess a lot of faith in Kill to get the job done, but a little bit of doubt remains because all of the previous Gopher coaches in my time have ultimately flopped.
With a strong running game and a defense determined to improve, I like the Gophers chances of reaching a major bowl next season, but if they don’t it wouldn’t shock me.
Kill has to prove himself this season or heads will turn, and that could ultimately lead to his demise as head coach in Minnesota.